Edinburgh Fringe 2016
“It’s 2057. Planet Earth is on the brink of disaster. A new home needs to be found. Follow Jenny on her journey from part-time pint puller to interplanetary hero in this inspiring and amusing interstellar mission across the solar system. Will Jenny help secure a future for mankind? Does space hold the answer when all is lost? And how will they get her ready in time?”
Jenny is selected to go into space, to a new planet, Europa. This seems a random choce but she agrees to do the training. Her boyfriend is in the dark about this. How will this decision affect her life, their lives? This new young group The Outbound Project creates physical theatre combining science and storytelling. Comprising five actors, they appear at first in the dark holding lights in the dark creatively evoking the sky and stars at night to show a galaxy. There are some wonderfully focused and defined images in the opening of the show and humour runs throughout.
Voiceovers are fun and tongue in cheek, example “One small step for man…” which sets the tone for The Mission. These are fresh young actors, two female and three male. Stella Backman plays Jenny, she is very compelling and Chris Yarnell who plays her boyfriend is strong, their scenes are good, dramatic and emotional. She has a comfy life and a future. Therefore going to space might not be a great idea, or might it?
There is an imaginative use of props and a magical brief moment with a large astronaut puppet handled by three actors, weightless and floating. The bureaucracy Jenny has to complete is dense but simple props and movement are creatively used in these scenes. All five actors are good at physical acting but Jordan Turner and Martin Chime are uneven in the acting scenes. Lucy Bishop has some good characterizations and holds her own.
Interspersed with the physical theatre action are longer dramatic scenes, which are well acted but do not all sustain themselves within the tenor of the show. Music and sound effects add atmosphere and there is a clever condensing of every day action, it’s creative and streamlined. Interview scenes are interesting and rather talky for a physical theatre play.
The conflict is good between Jenny and her boyfriend and relatable to the audience. It was probably the question in everyone’s minds ten minutes after the play started, so well done, it’s a strong point. The story is more about the preparation for the new job rather than the mission or the selection yet it includes some interesting topics, such as why Jenny should practice public speaking. After a while the plot is predictable but this is a well-organised and eager ensemble.
This experience at the EdFringe 2016 will be good preparation for this new ensemble’s next production. They have done a good job so far, and the play will continue to find its rhythm throughout the run.